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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at C Mich chapter.

College is the first time most of us are on our own and independent. With this newfound independence, comes a lot of responsibility. No one is reminding us when we have a paper due, that we need to wake up for school, or helping us manage our time. Here are some tips on how to stay organized and on track while at school.

Get a planner

This is my number one rule! Some people get the daily/ monthly planners, but I found it best to use an hourly/ daily planner. These ones let you plan out your day by the hour. I recommend writing down all your classes, extra-curricular activities, and any other social events you may have.

Once you have all those, you could go though and add in other activities in the open hours. For example, say you have a paper due that weekend and you have a few free hours on Thursday, write down “do paper.” If you see it in your planner, you are more likely to do that homework because it has a set time and not just whenever you feel like doing it.

Overall, having a planner is a great way to stay on top of all your assignments and manage your time while at school. If you are going to utilize any of these tips, let it be this one!

Syllabi are your best friends

Most professors will add a calendar of their course in their syllabi. This detailed calendar is a very useful tool when attempting to stay on top of all your assignments.

Personally, I look at the syllabi before I go to class to see what I will be doing in class that day. Also, heading back to the planner, at the start of the semester, I go through all my syllabi and add paper due dates and exams into my planner. This lets me know what’s coming and when I need to start studying.

Create a four-year plan

When I met with my academic advisor, for the first time, we went over all the classes I needed to take before I graduate. Now, I plan on graduating early, so my four-year plan had to be condensed to a three-year plan. Laying out all my classes with my advisor, figuring out all the prerequisite I needed, and creating an excel spreadsheet of my upcoming classes helped me stay on track.

It may seem intimidating and like a lot of work at first, which it is, but it is worth it in the end. When registering for classes, I already know what I need to take, and I have backup classes set up just incase my first picks get full.

Meeting with an advisor and creating a four-year plan is most beneficial for long-term organization. It’ll take a good amount of time to get it all set up, but, trust me, it is worth it. Most of the stress of graduating on time will go away.

Realize school comes first

That is something my mother always said and she’s right – school should come first. In college there are many opportunities to go out and have fun. Although it is beneficial to relax with your friends, your education needs to be your top priority.

Work piles up fast in school. If you go out every weekend, you will be stressed and struggling later in the week. Now, I’m not saying to never go out; I’m saying that your classes and homework should be more important than a party.

Just simply setting time aside on the weekends to write one paper and study for a quiz will have a major effect on your grades. You can always go to another party, but, as we all know, it is nearly impossible to get you GPA back up.